Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don is smelling home, I think.

These are Deanna's boys, with Phil. Alex will be 10 in January and Phillip is 14; Blake will be 2 in January. I was working hard to get a picture of Phillip with his eyes open, and his mother sent one to me, but I can't get it downloaded on Ruthie's dial up. We were up until 2 this morning getting that picture of Alex and me and still couldn't get it to post until after church today. Now I've been working for over an hour to get this one on and I'm too sleeping to be effective! I'm posting with this one and going to take a quick nap. When we get home and I can work with high speed I'll get a better picture of Phillip on the blog. They are wonderful boys, so I really wanted them on the blog. They are just the next best thing to grandkids for us!

It was wonderful to see lots of people at church this morning who we love from years ago when we lived here. This is such a fun visit. Ruthie and Phil bought the house we owned when we lived here and they've fixed it up really pretty. We love to sit and watch all the great birds who we loved when we lived here. As Don says, this is the best view we ever had, anywhere. Everytime we come back we're tempted to move back. We resist the temptation, though. Home is good.
We'll leave for home in the morning. I think Don is about done with living out of a suitcase. He wants to get up and leave really early, so I'll bet that means we'll drive all the way home. That's okay. It's been a wonderful trip and I thank God for giving us safe travels and lots of people to see. It's been WOW all the way. I really need to get home and get back to my full exercise routine. I can do it all here, but the walking is hard because I'm such a weenie over barking dogs and the cold. Between the two I can find an excuse to come inside!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Too much fun!

I have fun like this all the time, but we don't get pictures of it. Of course I don't always have Blake for my play buddy, like this, but I have fun a lot and we don't get pictures of it. Don used to never take pictures, but he knows I need pictures for the blog, so I hand him the camera and he takes two or three pictures, so I'll get one with my eyes open and a decent smile. They're always so posed, though. I love pictures like this one where it is so real. Deanna (Blake's mommy and Ruthie's daughter; my niece) got this picture of Blake and I last night. When they first came over Blake kept his eyes on Don and I and I wondered if he'd ever warm up to us. Sure enough he got to running around and I was sitting on the hearth. I eased down onto the floor, got closer and closer to his path, and reached out and grabbed him and tickled him. He loved it and we did it several times after that. He totally trusted me, then. Don did his rendition of a bird until Blake was in his lap, too. What a precious little guy he is! All of Deanna's boys are really awesome guys. I'll have pictures of all of them on the blog soon.

Today was a fun day. We rode into Paris, the 'big' town about 15 miles from here in Springville. Don and Phil dropped us off at the nursing home to see a couple of our friends who are there for rehab, one after breaking a hip and the other after radiation treatments to a brain tumor. Ruthie and I enjoyed visiting while Don and Phil went to the co-op to do some shopping. After they picked us up we made a quick stop at Lowe's and then came home the long way seeing some old sights that brought back memories from when we lived here. We really enjoyed it. Then David, Ruthie's son, came over this afternoon; it was good to see him!

I got all my exercises done today, including a short walk. This is a great place to walk, but the dogs get so stressed over me and they make me uncomfortable. When I got the 20 minutes the doctor ordered done, I came on inside. Ruthie loaned me a pillow for my arm last night and my night was much better. She has one just like the one I use at home, so it was perfect. My arm has been much better today. I also go to do the pulley exercises that I haven't done since I left home, so that might have made a difference, too.

It's been football all afternoon for the guys and it's topped off with OU playing OSU. I'd better go watch; there's only 2 points difference!

I thank God for such a wonderful trip. It's so wonderful to see lots of people we love.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Made it to Ruthie's!

Woohoo! We made it to Ruthie's! Then Ruthie and I went over to see Dot, Frazier, and Janie (who comment on the blog from time to time) for a bit. We surprised them, so we caught Janie in her fantastic Crocks. Is that the right way to spell it? Those great shoes I lived in last winter and wear all over, still; she's discovered their comfort! I read last night that they are great shoes for people who have lymphedema in their legs, by the way. (I don't have it in my leg, but I thought that was interesting.) Janie sent me a bird picture last year because I was so crazy about the birds building a nest on our door. It was fun to meet her today.

Then tonight Deanna and John brought their boys Phillip, Alex and Blake over for a visit. What fun! I got some pictures of them that I'll post soon. It's great to be here! I thank God for our safe trip and for all the folks we're getting to see.

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and that your thank-you box is full! Thanks for checking on us.

I feel great. My arm is bothering me at night, but that's because I forgot to bring my pillows to keep it propped when I sleep. I had some in the car I should have been using and I brought one in to use tonight. Of course, it'll help to get back to doing my exercises like I should, too. I've done about half of them today and I'll finish before I go to bed. I've got to be diligent with the exercises if I want to manage the lymphedma and I DO want to manage it. I sure don't want it to get away from me!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to download the pictures on the camera, but the batteries died on me today! UGH! So, I didn’t get to take lots of pictures of the fun day and I’ll have to wait until I get new batteries to download the pictures I did get. Oh, well. I’m thankful that I can get them once I get batteries.

This picture tonight is one of Elena with Poppy about to get her with his hand. She loves that game. Boy, she had a big day today! We all did. One couple who came lived in the apartment where they lived before moving into this house. They adopted them for her ‘grandparents on campus,’ since all their grandparents live states from here. Their son and daughter are grown but not married, so they adopt other people’s grandkids. I love that! Another couple from the apartments who have a 5 year old daughter and a 3 week old daughter came, also. Boy did all the grandparents have fun with those two! All the kids were in heaven. They all brought food and we all hurt ourselves eating!

I am not getting the exercises I’m supposed to be doing done, but I am getting plenty of exercise. I’ve carried kids and carried wood for the fireplace, not to mention lots of chopping and washing of pots and pans. It’ll be good to get back into my routine, but for now it’s a breakthrough for me to not get it done perfectly. Sometimes time with the family and friends is just more important; especially when it’s freezing outside. (Terri, if you’re walking and freezing, I’m proud of you!) I didn’t eat any sugar and that was hard!

We leave in the morning to go to Ruthie’s house. I hate to leave here, but I’m excited to go there. Woohoo, and Thank you, God for all of this!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving eve.

Woohoo! They installed Gretta’s Internet today and I’m able to login with the laptop. This is great, but we’ve got so much email to sort; we’ll have to do that when we get home unless it’s something really important; please be patient with me and if I don’t answer you, remind me!

The picture on the blog tonight is one of Elena clapping during the OU/Texas Tech game last weekend. She loves football! She’s so funny! She claps every time the crowd yells and she hollers, "AW!" She does the same thing with "The Price Is Right." She yells when the people yell and claps all through it. She’s a hoot. She LOVES it when we read to her; it’s so sweet when she brings a book and backs up to your lap to make it easy for you to pick her up to your lap.

Gretta had won a free night in a hotel suite in Lexington, so she and Joe celebrated their anniversary yesterday and went to Louisville for a date night and we kept the kids. Garrett and I played cribbage and I read Green Eggs and Ham to Elena about a million times. It was GREAT!
Gretta and Joe came home today and we started the turkey and dressing. Yum! The house smells great and we’re counting the hours until the folks come for dinner tomorrow. Gretta and Garrett did deviled eggs and the other folks are bringing the rest. Well, we made Zelma’s ham/cheese ball, too, and THAT we already tasted! Gretta has the tables all set already! I think there will be 17 people here; something like that. Gretta is so excited because she hasn’t had a big Thanksgiving dinner since we used to all go to Hobart for Thanksgiving with Don’s family when our house belonged to his parents. We were recalling those great times as we cooked today. Precious memories!

We’ve had a fire in the fireplace every day and night since we’ve been here. I’m so enjoying that! What a wonderful Thanksgiving this is. We have so much for which to give thanks. This is so much better than last year. I was content last year, but I look back now and realize how dull it was to be in the middle of chemo and sequestered from everyone! This is like a dream come true. Thank you, God, for so much!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Lexington!

We are at Gretta's and gone to McDonald's for a quick WIFI session to collect emails and make a quick post. I downloaded the pictures from the camera and will edit them and have more for the blog later. This one is one I took of Garrett while we waited for the WIFI to connect. Garrett will be 12 in a couple of weeks. He knows more about this stuff than I do; he's a very patient helper!
I just wanted to check in quickly in case anyone looks. We're doing just fine, although it's freezing cold here, too. I think I'm a snowbird and need to go south! We'll head to Ruthie's the day after Christmas and that's a little bit south.
The Oklahoma win against Texas Tech last night was too cool! Elena LOVES football and we loved it when we could win so well! She was quite the entertainer. I'll have pictures of her on the blog soon. She's such a dolly with a bob haircut!
I sure thank God for this trip and the family and friends to get to visit and love. We know that we are so richly blessed. (Sorry about the paragraphs running together; the blog isn't cooperating with me and it's hard to do it here in McDonald's! It just has to be how it is.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Life on the tree farm.

This picture is Brian with Ethan, Kyle and Elise and a little baby deer he found out in the field. This is some of the fun life on the tree farm. Brian is a pilot for a living, but he has a black walnut tree farm on the side. He also plants, bales and sells hay on the side. He works hard when he works, but he has lots of time at home and he works hard then, too. Imagine everyone's delight when he finds a little deer out in the field! This was back in June; we just missed this because we were here in June. Wouldn't I have been delighted to be in on this!

Today was a fun day. We got to go to Kyle's awards ceremony at school. He was in the top 10% in his class and also was recognized for being on the tennis team. We don't get to get in on much of the recognition our grandkids get, so we really enjoyed it. Then we went out to dinner at the Cracker Barrel tonight, so we didn't have to cook or clean up. After dinner Kyle played the trombone for us; that's his instrument in the band. Again, we were impressed.

Tonight will be our last night here, then we'll leave in the morning for a few days with Gretta. Gretta is in her new house and does not have Internet access, yet. Neither does she have a landline phone since they all have cell phones. They live out in the country, so I may not get in everyday for WIFI. If you don't see a new post on the blog until Friday, don't worry; it just means we're too busy to drive in to the WIFI. I'll get lots of pictures and post them later when we get home. I'm sure we'll be able to post from Ruthie's, so enjoy the holidays and check in with us after Thanksgiving.

I thank God for all our many blessings, family and friends being the best. I thank Him so much for our safe travels, too. We are so blessed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is a picture I found in Gina's collection of Brian and Gina with Elise, Kyle and Ethan. We are at their house this week in south Indiana.

Man, is it ever COLD here! The family is warm, but my walk was COLD! It's been snowing for the last couple of hours, but it's not sticking. I met the kids at the school bus this afternoon, so that gave me the motivation to be out there in the cold. Then we came inside and Elise set me up on the treadmill to finish my walk. I cut my walk short today; I'm turning into a weenie, I guess. Kyle is no weenie, though; he shot some arrows wearing no coat (it would have gotten in his way) and he's an excellent shot. He got his first deer (with a gun) just last weekend and he got his first turkey this season, too. I guess he's going to be the great hunter like his dad.

Gina just realized I should have gotten the mail on one of my trips to the road, so I might be going back out there. Burr. I need some incentive to make me do it and that will do. Dinner's almost on the table, though and I don't want to miss THAT! I thank God for wonderful family, great food and a warm coat and house! Are we ever blessed!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I thought Don was tall!

This blog is going to say this is posted on the 18th, but that's because I saved this picture of the guys last night. I'm really posting on the 19th, but I don't know how to make the blog cooperate with me. Anyway, it's Wednesday night and I'm posting from Gina's house. This picture is of Don with Michael and Samuel, two of Peggy's sons who we saw last night. Those guys are so cool; we were so thrilled to catch them at home. They have another brother, who we missed, but we'll catch him another time.

Our trip continues to be a WOW because we got here today expecting Gina to be gone on a field trip, but she was here! Then she took off to take the two older kids to the dentist and we stayed home. Don and Brian visited and played with Ethan while I walked up and down their driveway to get in my walking. They live in the country on a farm, so the driveway to the road is a good little walk. Their dog wasn't too happy with me swinging my cane; I know she thought I was some kind of intruder with that cane. I'm scared of dogs, so I had my work cut out for me. She is a GENTLE white lab and has never barked at me until I was walking and swinging the cane. She was really confused; she'd bark and then wag her tail and walk a bit with me. After I got all my walking done GRETTA came zipping in the driveway with Garrett and Elena! They live about 2 hours from here and we're going to their house on Saturday, so we weren't expecting her at all. What a great visit we all had, then! Gretta and her kids just stayed for dinner and then left, but it was sure fun and a sweet surprise.

Everyone's in bed except me, now. Brian has to get up in a couple of hours to leave. He leaves tomorrow and will be home Saturday morning. (He's a pilot with UPS; at home he's a tree and hay farmer, hunter, carpenter, jack of all trades.) I'm thanking God for our safe travels and Gretta's safe trip, too and also for all this healthy family and the chance to be with them. We're out of cell phone range out here, so I didn't talk to Dorothy today, but I learned from Bill's e-devotion that David got to go home today! I know they are so pleased with that improvement! I thank God for that, too!

I didn't save anymore pictures to the blog, so I doubt if I'll have a picture on here tomorrow. Maybe I can swipe something from Gina to use!

A WOW trip already!

This is a WOW trip already! We stopped an had a fun visit with Trish and Raynie this morning. Raynie was going through her book of animals with us showing us how they all ‘speak.’ What a dolly! Then we came on and stopped in St. Louis to see our niece, Peggy, and caught 3 of her kids at home. Peggy’s husband, Mike, passed away a year ago last August with colon cancer and we were in Houston with my treatments so we couldn’t come to his service. We hadn’t seen them since a year ago last July, so it was really good to see them. I got a picture of Don with Samuel and Michael, but I’ll put it on tomorrow night. They are both 6’4" or taller and so handsome; that’ll be tomorrow night’s treat if I can get online.

Tonight’s picture is Molly and Peggy with me. Molly is their ‘baby’ daughter; I imagine she is 15. Aren’t they beautiful! It’s hard to believe Peggy has these grown kids! Thank you, God for this special visit!

We’ve made it on to Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and will spend the night. Tomorrow morning we’ll head out for Gina’s house. We won’t be in any rush since she has a school field trip to help with in the morning. So, we’re going to sleep in and mosey on to their house tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for keeping up with us. I thank God that so many people care.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Almost ready to go!

The picture tonight is my sister, Ruthie. I couldn’t resist putting her on here because we’re headed to see her the day after Thanksgiving. Woohoo! We’re all packed except for what we put in at the last minute in the morning. We’re going to leave at 6, so we’re getting up at 5. We can take turns driving and sleeping if we get sleepy along the way.

We’ll eat breakfast on the way to give us a break. Then we’ll stop at Tricia’s in OKC and catch some hugs from her and Raynie. (The other kids will all be gone to school, so we’ll miss them this time.) Trish has some stuff to send to Gretta and she left some stuff here when they were here, so we’re trading ‘stuff.’ We’ll be on our way and make it to St. Louis tomorrow evening to catch a quick visit with our niece, Peggy. Maybe we’ll catch some of her 4 kids. We’ll head onward and spend the night sometime after St. Louis. Wednesday morning we’ll head to Gina’s and get there sometime in the afternoon. We’ll stay there until Saturday afternoon, when we’ll head for Gretta’s. We’ll stay at Gretta’s for Thanksgiving and then head to Ruthie’s on the Friday after TG and stay there until Monday or Tuesday when we’ll head for home. We’re so excited about this trip because we’ll get to spend a little time at Gina’s, Gretta’s, and Ruthie’s.

I will post as often as I can, but I’m not sure I’ll have Internet access everywhere. I may have access, but not be able to post pictures. Hang tough with me. I’ll take pictures and post them after we get home if I can’t post them along the way. If you don’t see a new post, don’t worry. Just know that we’re on the move and having a great time visiting. I feel great these days. I have no complaints, whatsoever. (Well, my back always hurts, but that has nothing to do with the cancer; it has everything to do with my back’s issues. At 60 I can expect to hurt somewhere, right? With a couple of ‘snags’ in my back, I just know to take the best care of it that I can and keep up the walking and jiggling; those are the best things for it and they both help with my breast cancer recovery, too. I’m blessed that exercise for one is also good for the other.)

I thank God that we are healthy to make this trip! I’ve got to jiggle, take a bath and wash and roll my hair, then I’m READY! Woohoo!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The packing has begun.

So, I’m out of pictures of something interesting, so here’s how I look tonight after church and almost ready for bed. I’ve got about a half hour of exercises to do while I watch TV, then I’m ready to crash again. I’ve been packing lamps, etc. to take to Gretta. We have way too much stuff in this house and her house is new and she has space available.

Wow, today was a gorgeous day, again. I thought we were done with great days, but it was wonderful for walking. Don had a men’s meeting at church, so I walked by myself. I walked up to the hospital and visited Dorothy and David and stopped by the nursing home to visit some folks there who are special. David is doing a little better all the time, but his progress is slow. It’s amazing that Dorothy can stay there with him, sleeping on a cot. She’s had back surgery and a broken wrist in the last few months, not to mention that she’s up in her 80’s! She’s amazing!

We’re both excited about this trip. It’s going to be so good to spend some days with Gina and her family, Gretta and her family, and then top it off with a visit with Ruthie and her family and all the friends we knew when we lived there. It seems like a really long time since we’ve made this trip, so I thank God for the ability to make it. We’ll stop on the way and see Trish and Raynie; all the rest of her kids are in school. She has some things to send to Gretta. Then we’ll see Gina’s 3 kids and Gretta’s 2, so we’re going to get a good grandkid fix! Thank you, God!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Our' sweet Blake.

The pictures tonight are of “our sweet Blake.” Blake is Ruthie’s littlest grandson and he will be 2 in January. We’re so excited to be seeing him and his big brothers, Phil and Alex, the weekend after Thanksgiving. I asked Ruthie for a current picture so I wouldn’t be too shocked when I see him, and she sent these. I can’t believe what a big boy he is; they sure don’t stay babies for long! I’m sure glad she sent these pictures; I would have been floored to see him this big. His brothers call us Aunt Grammy and Uncle Poppy because we lived there when Phillip was born and he was sure our grandbaby fix. We treasure the memories of time we get to spend with them. Their Daddy, John, is full time with the Tennessee Army National Guard and when I was in Tijuana having hypothermia treatments he supported me by telling me to imagine him and the whole Tennessee Army Guard there to get me through it. One of the best compliments I ever got was when someone at their wedding said Deanna (Blake’s mommy) looked like ME. I think we were both smiling big like Blake is in the second picture, so I guess Blake looks like me, too? HA! Anyway he’s enjoying God’s brisk fall weather like his Aunt Grammy does. Thanks, Ruthie, for sharing these pictures. I can hardly wait to see all of your family and our friends in Springville!

Today was really cold here with big wind, but I made it through my walk. I dressed for it and did just fine. I even wore ear muffs and I was sure glad I did!

We visited David and Dorothy a little while ago and made up a cot for her to sleep right next to him. She really doesn’t want to leave his side, and I’m so glad that she is able to stay there with him. He’s doing a lot better. He doesn’t feel good by any means, but he was talking and laughing and yesterday he didn’t feel like saying anything more than was absolutely necessary and he didn’t have the breath to laugh. I’m so glad to see him going in the right direction! I thank God for a local hospital and doctors to take care of us when we crash around here!

Tomorrow is our fellowship meal after church and I’ve got my food made. It feels good to be prepared. I’m going to go jiggle, take a bath and go to bed early. Don is staying up to watch football and I’m treating myself to going to bed early; I aim to do that a lot, and mostly NEVER really get it done. I keep finding something that has to be done. Tonight I’m going to really do it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy red shirt day!

This picture Don took before I left this morning for the second funeral I’ve attended this week. You can see that my arm is swollen and the right sleeve was bunched up. My other black blazer wouldn’t go on because the sleeve was so tight. It’s a reality that I’ll have to manage the rest of my life. I’m happy to trade it for breast cancer!

Happy red shirt day (support our troops)! It’s been a busy day for us. I took Dorothy to a funeral with me this morning. A friend’s sister died and we went. David wasn’t feeling well then. Later Dorothy called and said they thought they needed to take David to the hospital. We took him and he has pneumonia, again! Bless his heart. Due to all our running around we ended up eating lunch and supper out, so I feel stuffed. We’ll go in a bit and take Dorothy home. We hate to leave her at home alone, but she insists she will be all right. We’ll just have to leave her to God. No better than she can see, we sure hate to leave her alone. She did get a closed circuit TV this week that enables her to read pill bottle labels and can labels, etc. It’s a wonderful tool. I know how good it feels to be at home, too, so we’ll reluctantly take her home in a while. We came on home to get some odds and ends done.

Today it turned cold here. I think it was in the 50’s but the wind was blowing at 40 and 50 mph, so it felt really cold. I had to cut my walk short to go to the hospital with Dorothy and David, but I was freezing, anyway. Tomorrow I’ll have to bundle up; I’m going to have to be tough to walk through the winter. I can do it. I thank God that I can walk, so I’m not going to wimp out on Him just because it’s cold.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy face.

Tonight’s picture is my happy face! The cleaning lady came today and sparkled up the house. I got all the laundry done yesterday, so it feels good to have things ready for a minute. Now, I get to get things all in a row for taxes. ICK. There’s always something hanging over my head. I’ve got to get taxes in order before we take off on trips or Don will stew about it the whole time we’re gone. I don’t want him to have cancer, so the best thing to do is get this stuff done. I’m so grateful for the cleaning lady. She’s not Angela, but she gets the job done and I thank God for her.

Another thing I shared with the ladies that came straight from our retreat was this: “The Hebrew word for forgive actually means to drop it.” That’s very graphic to me and makes it so easy to comprehend The chaplain who did our opening session said that ‘Resentment and retaliation diminish you.” It doesn’t harm the person in your aim at all; but it diminishes YOU! That’s pretty graphic, too! It settles it for me. Forgive and forget resentment and retaliation; I love that motto. Someone with cancer doesn’t need ANYTHING to further diminish them; they are absolutely aiming to build clean and healthy cells. Don’t wait until you have cancer to realize that we are ALL about building clean and healthy cells. None of us want to give up any life by diminishing our own selves just for the ‘joy’ of holding something against someone. Besides, who of us wants to even aim any resentment or retaliation at anyone, no matter how evil they may have been to us; that would be stooping to their level! Interesting, huh? Maybe that is all about the concept of turning the other cheek.

Another thing I got from the retreat, that I forgot to share at the salad supper was this one: “A cure is one thing, but healing is even MORE.” Lots of people think that the doctors would like to take all the credit or MD Anderson would like to take all the credit. I think they see themselves as tools that God uses. That’s how I see it. I thank God for them. I thank Him for the cure and for the healing. I pray that I will do my part to maintain the healing that He has given me. That means I’ve got to get the tax stuff ready so that it doesn’t diminish me or Don! It would be stupid on my part to have a healing and then let taxes eat away at us. Duh!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

75 days of vitamins and herbs packaged!

This picture is me with my last daisy and the current rebloomers. I’m so enjoying them. God’s abundance amazes me. These flowers get so little attention, but they keep producing and delighting me! I don’t look so delighted in this picture; I’m tired after throwing and packaging herbs and vitamins all day.

Today I finished up 75 days of herbs and vitamins for me. I did Don’s before we went to Houston; now I’ve got half of mine done. I’ll do the other 75 days when we get back from our Thanksgiving trip. This gets me enough to get me through that trip and another several weeks. I’m working to have enough done to get us through our Branson trip in the winter. I thank God that I have this many done and only have one more ‘batch’ to do. Then I can relax about all that for several months!

Another thing from the retreat that I shared last night was the concept of the presence of an ‘altar’ transforming ordinary space into something special. An altar is anything you have displayed. So, like if you have a picture of a loved one on the wall, then that space becomes very special space. Likewise, if you keep a memento of a trip displayed somewhere in your home, then that space takes on whatever was special about that trip. Man, did that ever validate my clutter habit! HA! Really, it did make me want to de-clutter and keep only the things that have special meaning.

Another thing we discussed at the retreat and I repeated last night is that someone else’s perspective can add so much to one’s understanding. It’s why support groups are so good and why discussion classes are so helpful in any kind of class. It’s good to have someone else’s opinion on something because they have a different perspective and their view can help one to expand their understanding of a topic. It sure helped us when we were talking with other cancer patients and caregivers!

God’s plan for people is so great. He put us in families; what a blessing! He made us social so that we group with people of like interests. We can and do help each other; what a happy way to live. I thank Him for families and friends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks! And more thanks!

I’ve had trouble with the computer all day. I finally had to restore the system with the F10 key. I didn’t destroy everything, and it does seem to be working. You could tell from last night’s picture that I was pretty rattled; it was the technical stuff. Today has been a struggle, but I feel like I’m sort of on top of it all. Some things are working; some are not, but we didn‘t have to buy a computer today. I really thought it was over and we’d be shopping today. So, I’m thanking God for His help. I couldn’t have done it without His help!

He helped me through the devotion tonight, too. It went just fine, I think. The ladies were very attentive and seemed to appreciate the lesson. I’ll tell you one thing I shared from the retreat. At the retreat they had a Thanksgiving tree. It was a cone shaped basket with the point up like a tree. They had little pieces of colored construction paper with a holes punched in one corner and curly ribbon to tie the papers onto the tree. Before you tied them onto the tree you were supposed to write something for which you were giving thanks. I thought that was such a great idea! I made a THANKS box since I don’t have space for a tree. I’m going to fill it with things for which I’m thankful and keep it all year. On days that are good I will put things into the box. On bad days I’ll go read what’s in the box. That ought to fix up any bad day! Actually, I think I can put something in there everyday, and I'll be ashamed if I can't!

The picture tonight is me before I left for the salad supper with my THANKS box. I had things in it that I’d written today at the funeral. Sit down and look around and write all the things for which you are thankful; you’ll need lots of papers and time! When we got home from Houston, it felt so good to be home. We had a WONDERFUL visit with Doris and Jerry and their family and friends, and a WONDERFUL time at the retreat, but home is always so sweet! I was telling Don, “I love our kitchen! I love my island! I love my cup and my knives!” (How wacky is THAT? Knives!?) Everything I touched felt like home and it was so good! None of those things are so special, but they are OURS. I’m so grateful that the burglar didn’t destroy our home; I pray for him because I know he was lost in some way. I thank God for the concept of ours, the concept of home, the concept of belonging, the concept of prayer. I’m so sorry for someone who was here and didn’t belong. Maybe he doesn’t belong anywhere and that would be sad! Thank you God for family and friends and the opportunity to spend time with them.

Here’s a story from the retreat: A couple died and when they got to heaven St. Peter met them at the pearly gates. He asked how they were and they were so thrilled to be there they began confessing what they thought were their sins. St. Peter kept saying, “Oh, no, that’s not a sin; no that’s okay; no that’s not a sin; goodness, you must have WORRIED yourselves to death!”

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Desktop is paralyzed.

Oh, brother. The desktop has been near death all day. We shut it down last night because storms were predicted for the night. When we started it up this morning there was a warning about a virus, but even when I did what it said to do the computer still wouldn't do anything. It wouldn't even shut down. I finally unplugged it and when I started it again it worked fine. Then it started it again tonight and it's been three hours that it's been paralyzed. I'm thinking tomorrow may be the day we get a new computer. I'm just happy that THIS one is working!

The picture is one Don took of me today. We walked today and I walked up a sweat, which made my hair go all frizzy. That's how it feels now when it's really curly, so I rolled it, again. I'm hooked. The hot curlers are back. I'll only roll it when it's too frizzy. I'm getting better with the curlers and it works really quickly. These curls are pretty cool, even when they're frizzy. The rolled curls don't fall out like they used to; used to when I'd sweat, the curl would fall out, but not anymore! I'm learning to cope with it. I thank God for it. Mostly I thank God for living to experience any kind of hair and all the things in life that are way more important!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Walking is such an inspiration.

This is today’s picture with another iris arrangement and the last daisy of the year. I didn’t roll my hair or do anything but brush it today. I’m learning. Maybe it will be worth rolling it when I wash it. We’ll see. I think when I go to Branson and swim everyday I’ll forget rolling it. We’ll see.

Today was full of church and mixing. The Future Teachers of America have a great lunch every year to raise funds and today was the day. It’s always fun because it seems like the whole town comes for it and the food is delicious. David and Dorothy and our neighbors, Bill and Olya ate with us. It was fun. After lunch we went out to Dorothy and David's and helped them rearrange the furniture in their living room. Man, I was so ready for a nap when we got home, but it was time to walk. I had to really push myself, but I did it. Whew. By the time I got back it was time to get supper and then get back to church.

I’m cooking some food for this week. A good friend passed away after several years of Alzheimer’s and I’m fixing a pasta salad for the meal after her funeral. Another friend’s sister passed away and her funeral will be Friday. I’ll probably cook for that family meal, too. We’ve been down that road and the meal for the family is really a good time for the church to provide, so I enjoy participating. I thank God that I am able! Then I’m fixing a salad for Tuesday night’s ladies salad supper, too. (I have to get my thoughts together for that devotion, too. I’m about ready; I just need to get it down on paper so if my chemo brain takes over I can fall back on some notes.)

Today’s walk was really good. Of course Don stayed home and watched football. My friend, Deb, who would normally walk with me was home nursing her husband , who had knee surgery Friday. So, it was just me and God. God’s a great walking buddy and He provided such a beautiful day. We can cover a lot of territory in an hour! I’ve done everything but jiggle today; that’s the easiest of my exercises; I just have to lay there with my arms out and let the machine jiggle me for 15 minutes. It’s just hard to find the 15 minutes!

Find 15 minutes to do something good for your back; I challenge you! Most of us have achy backs; just sitting or laying down or walking will help; give it 15 minutes and see if you don’t feel better!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pardon me for being so vain!

I am in such a state of baffle. I washed my hair today and tried blow drying it. NO WAY. I was never skilled at blowing dry straight hair, but these curls are way ahead of me! So I blew it dry and rolled it with hot curlers. I used to be good at that; not anymore. It took me forever to do and the curlers fell out about as fast as I got them ‘clipped.’ That was okay because this hair really was ‘uncurling’ and it responded quickly. I was so slow that it took what seemed like forever. I don’t like it much. It looks okay, but it feels floppy like my old hair did, so I worry that it’s falling flat and wonder if I should tease it and spray it. GAG. I don’t want to go THERE! I didn’t even like the rolling thing, or the drying. I’m so good at lazy, anymore!

What really has me baffled is the color! This hair looks blonde or brownish. The curly hair seems to be grayer. I have done NOTHING to the color. I think straightening it (with the rollers!?) highlights the color that is there better than the tight curls do. The color is okay, but it’s not worth all that effort. I’ll see what happens when I sleep on it and walk and sweat. I’m thinking the curls will just get tighter and tighter as the days pass and I‘ll look like the little gray haired lady with a perm in a few days. It’ll be interesting. I just shake my head when I look in the mirror and wonder who this is in my bathroom, now! It looks a lot like me, but I had gotten used to the little old lady with the perm look. Hmmm; I sure liked being lazy. I know I am not going to go back to hot curlers every day of life, again! Mascara is one thing, but curlers? I don’t think so! Gretta will advise me when I get there; I’ll bet Judy and Dana will, too. I think Ruthie will stick with me for the easy curls, but I’m not betting; she’s the one who taught me the curler thing a hundred years ago. Go ahead, I’m braced for it.

You know what? I’m thanking God for any hair! I’m thanking Him for the ability to raise my arms and use the curlers even if I am stale at it. I thank Him for the ability to walk and sweat! I’m thanking Him for the time and energy to mess with the dryer and curlers today I know that my life is so rich because of all He gives me, and hair with curls is such a treat. I must be silly to even get out the curlers! I just feel like I should be doing SOMETHING with it; I never had it so easy and I sure like the easy.

Oh! By the way, those are irises blooming in my yard, here on November 9th! I couldn’t have been any more thrilled if I’d found money in my flower bed! I so enjoy these rebloomers!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Home, again! Thank you, God.

This is a picture Don took yesterday by some more pretty flowers at Camp Allen. I don’t know what they are, but I loved them! I forgot to take my jacket, so I had my sweat shirt that I use when I walk and the great blanket/jacket that Trish gave me for Christmas last year. That blanket/jacket lives in the car and I wear it when Don freezes me with the AC. The sweat shirt I’ve cut out the neck and cut off the cuffs and the bottom, so it’s perfect to keep me warm, but not smother me and then when I start sweating I take it off and tie it around my waist. The two of them kept me plenty warm at the chuck-wagon dinner last night.

We made it home fine. We got here just around 7, I think. We’ve got the car all unloaded and I have a load of laundry going. Don just came in to say goodnight; he’s had his shower. I’m headed to my bath before he gets to sleep. We’re both exhausted, but revived. The retreat was absolutely awesome! We’re blessed to get home before it was too late. We’ve got time to take a bath and get to bed. We’ve got breakfast planned at the Kozy Diner in the morning at 8:30. It’ll be good to see everyone. It’s good to be home!

I thank God for home, for safe traveling, for health, for family and friends. Wow; we are so blessed!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ruthie!

Don took this picture this evening as we were getting ready to go to our chuck-wagon dinner. I love the flowers around here. This was a potted hibiscus near one of the entrances to the convention center.

The chuck-wagon dinner was perfect! The food was good and the weather was perfect for it! We had such a good time sitting around talking to each other. This retreat has been so wonderful. I think it has been good for Don and I know it’s been good for me. I see other cancer survivors from time to time, but it’s been so nice to visit time and again with people who ‘get it.’ That’s kind of how we’ve put it since we’ve been here. People who don’t have cancer have been very supportive, but they have no way of really understanding. Once you have cancer you are always on the lookout for it to appear again. It’s very common that it will, too. Whatever makes our bodies a comfort zone for it in the first place, we have to face that it’s still a comfort zone. Then common side effects of chemo and radiation are CANCER!

I don’t do caffeine or sugar and I avoid processed foods and white flour; I do all that to make my body less inviting to cancer. I exercise like a nut to build up my immunity and bone density, plus I take 5 cancer fighting supplements and others to build my immunity. Plus, I do my best to avoid stress. A thing I’ve concluded is that type A personalities naturally attract cancer. Ugh. I can’t change into a B personality, so I just have to do my best. My family has been so good to help me de-stress. My friends do their best to help me, too. They all do it out of love. This group of people didn’t know me, let alone love me, but we can all sure talk! It’s been so nice to not have to prepare or clean up after meals! The woods have been so beautiful! The surroundings are just awesome. The staff has been so much fun, too. WOW; I’ve learned so much. I surely thank God for the opportunity to attend this retreat.

I am doing the devotional for our ladies salad supper at church next Tuesday night. I had a million things I wanted to say, but I got my devotional from a session we had this morning. I can hardly wait for Tuesday night to share what I’ve learned! I’ll share more with you after Tuesday, too; I don’t want to give away my lesson before then.

I thank God for my big sister, Ruthie! I would have never lived to have cancer if it had not been for Ruthie pulling me out of many snares and teaching me so much. Besides that she gave me a wonderful brother-in-law and niece and nephew and their great families! Ruthie, here is your birthday present. This is a joke the chaplain told today. This couple were blessed to die at the same time and they showed up at the pearly gates. St. Peter asked them if they’d sinned and they began to confess what they considered to be their sins. St. Peter kept saying, "Oh, that’s not a sin; finally He said, good grief, you must have worried yourselves to death!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gretta!

Happy Birthday, Gretta! Today she is 36, so we can still talk about her number! I talked to her this morning on our way out here. It’s a good thing because we have no cell phone reception out here! I hope we’ve met our quota on emergencies and nobody will need us, but if they do they can reach us by land line Camp Allen’s phone number is 936-825-7175. Tomorrow is my sister, Ruthie’s birthday. I’m looking forward to seeing both of them before the end of this month; we’re going to Gretta’s for Thanksgiving and will come by Ruthie’s house on the way home. We’re planning to go to Gina’s house on the way to Gretta’s. This is a big travel month for us! I am so thankful that we are able to travel this year. This time last year I was bald as an onion and couldn’t get out amongst people. I cleaned all the pictures off my computer before we left the house (stored them on an external hard drive) to free up space on the laptop in hopes that it would work better, so I borrowed this picture from the Magic Foundation. We’re really proud of her work with them.

I gave a lady a shot today to help her get her white blood cell count up. It was a $7,000 shot! Her caregiver’s brother died this morning, so she came without her; I guess I’m her caregiver, now! Of the 14 patients here, 4 are breast cancer survivors. One is an ovarian cancer survivor. One is is living with lung, bone and liver cancer (!), and the rest are all Leukemia survivors. Most of them have had stem cell transplants. They have some way bigger stories to tell than I do. I see, again, that I am so blessed. We all feel that we are! We all thank God that MD Anderson is here and that we can come here for our treatments; we all feel that God is the source of our healing and MD Anderson is the tool. It’s been so good and we expect tomorrow will be, too. We thank God for the opportunity to have this experience.

Looky here, looky here, looky here!

We really are at the retreat and have high speed access right in our room! Our room is homey and the camp is gorgeous! We have a hand quilted quilt hanging on the wall in this room! Don and I have already taken a hike on one of the trails, here. We start with lunch at noon. We're just getting everything settled into our room and I'm working to see if the laptop works. The laptop is limping, but it sure helps to have high speed internet access!

I'm going to put on a picture of Charlotte and I at the Cracker Barrel on Monday. Then, I'll go get some pictures of the camp and I'll post, again, tonight! I'm so pleased already! I've learned that there are only 14 couples here for this retreat, so it's going to be very intimate. I'm so pleased that we could come. Thanks for looking and hanging with us! God blesses us all so much; praise!

So much for a day off from posting! I couldn't wait to tell you I'm online already and the retreat is wonderful! You might find information about where we are located at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Woohoo! Great report and 'promotion!'

This picture is too precious. Colter has a fetish for running his fingers through hair. He likes to suck two fingers on his left hand and run the fingers of his other hand through your hair. Don got this picture Sunday as he was sitting in my lap. You can see him sucking his two fingers and running his fingers through my hair. He is such a precious little guy; he took one look at me and knew there was a goldmine in that hair!

Today was a wonderful day! We saw the doctor and she was very pleased with my blood tests and her examination of me. She ‘promoted me’ so that I only have to come back in 4 months, now, instead of every 3 months. We’re very pleased with that!

After our appointment we got to go check in another couple to their apartment in the same complex where we were when we stayed here. That was such a blessing for us! It was nostalgic for us in that it brought back lots of memories, but it made us soooooooo grateful to be able to be HOME and TRAVELING! And this couple was so appreciative of the apartment they were getting! They were staying in a little motel room, and he was feeling so rugged with all the chemo he’s had in the last couple of days. When he walked into their apartment he just sat down in a chair, put his head into his hands and cried. He was overwhelmed with gratitude and thanked God for a miracle! It was such a joy to be a part of relief for them. I thank God for the opportunity to be on the giving end of this experience.

Then tonight we went out to eat to celebrate our great day. It had been such a sweet visit!

Tomorrow morning we leave early for the retreat. I don’t expect that I’ll have internet access at the retreat, so I’m going to take Wednesday and Thursday off from posting. Don’t think something is wrong. We’re just hibernating at the retreat for survivors and caregivers. We’ll be home late Friday night and I’ll post then. Take a break from us for a couple of days, but y’all come back! We love you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sisters in the breast cancer journey.

Ronetta and I are sisters in the Lord and also sisters in this breast cancer journey. We met on and she has been a great support to me through cyberspace; yesterday we got to meet. A lady who was nearby took our picture and asked if she got it right. I told her it was us, so it was right. She said that maybe she didn't get the shot we wanted and I asked her if she could shoot it so that I was the tall, slender one. Obviously, she couldn't. Ronnetta is the age of our youngest daughter, Gretta, so I could be her mother, and our cancers are in the breast but different. She's an amazing woman, though. She has been such an inspiration to me with her attitude, so I wanted so much to meet her in person. She has 3 daughters; 8, 6 and almost 2 and she has worked through her whole journey. She has a wonderful husband, Gerald, and a great support system of family and friends. I feel like I know them all through her stories, and it was such a joy to meet her. I thank God for her in my life.

Today I got to meet with another friend, Charlotte. Charlotte lives in an outlying town and she and her daughter, Delpha, drove in to meet me for lunch at the Cracker Barrel. Delpha made my 'reunion' outfit that you may recall seeing me wear at both Don's reunion and mine. It's my dress up outfit that I love so much. Charlotte was at Itazuke, but we weren't there together. We met at and Overseas Brats function and we've become close and travel together whenever possible. When I was having surgery, she was having surgery for a blockage, so we've done some patching together this year. Delpha got pictures of us today, so I'll post those soon.

This trip has been a fun one for seeing people! Tomorrow we are going to do my appointments at the hospital and then check a couple into the apartments where we stayed when we 'lived' here for surgery and radiation. Doris went to the apartments today and cleaned two and checked one couple into theirs, but this other couple was tied up in treatments and couldn't make it to check into their apartment. Doris has to keep Luke tomorrow, so we get to check this couple into their apartment. I think that'll be fun, and we can do it since we're going to be down there, anyway. I thank God, again, for blessing us with the apartment while we were here. I thank Him for making it available to this couple, too and I pray for their recovery. This apartment ministry is a tremendous thing and I'm glad to have even a tiny little part in it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Old home week with great nephews.

Here I am in my hayday with Luke, on the left, and Colter, on the right. Luke had a little bowl of fish he was sharing with Colt and I. They are such precious guys; how blessed are we to get to see them every three months!

Today was a wonderful day. We saw lots of good people who have been wonderful to us at church. Then we had a great reunion here at the house over lunch. After the kids left I went out to Starbucks and met my support group: Ronnetta is a wonderful gal who I met through and we've emailed back and forth over the months. We finally got to meet today. I'll put a picture of the two of us on the blog soon. It was so sweet to get to meet her in person.

After a quick walk this afternoon we went back to church and then had dinner out with a wonderful group. I thank God for friends and family all over who have been so supportive. Ronnetta and I agreed that one of the richest blessings of this breast cancer experience is the love and support we've had and we thank God for that tender blessing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good trip to Houston.

Our trip today was perfect. We met Terri along the way for lunch and the picture tonight is one Don took of us. You can tell we were having a great time. God blesses us to have such good friends!

We arrived here after 6 hours on the road including our lunch stop with Terri and a breakfast stop this morning in Lawton, so we think today went really well. We visited a while and then Doris walked with me while Don and Jerry watched football. After dinner I went to set up the laptop and it wouldn't cooperate. Jerry and I worked on it for a while and it's just not going to happen. More technical challenges! We didn't come here to be technically challenged! So, I gave up on our laptop and moved to Jerry's desktop. I'll get this post on and then maybe I can figure out the laptop connection tomorrow. If not, I'll use this desktop, again.

I'm blessed to have options! The trip was great and we are settled. Tonight we get an extra hour of sleep! Woohoo! I couldn't ask for more. Tomorrow we get to see Brett and Heather and Gregg and Stephanie, and the big delights: Luke and Colt! I'll get pictures and share them soon!

Thank you, God for our safe trip and Terri's too!